Mieke De Wit, VIVES student campus Torhout


A strong feeling of hatred towards the Jewish people. the intense dislike for and prejudice against Jewish people. The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races. a form of racism prejudice or discrimination against, and persecution of the Jews as an ethnic group. Historically, this has been practised for many different reasons, by the ancient Egyptians before the Exodus, under the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BC, and for almost 2000 years by European Christians. In the Middle Ages, Jews became “scapegoats” for many problems people suffered. For example, they were blamed for causing the “Black Death”, the plague that killed thousands of people throughout Europe. Anti-Semitism was a tenet of Nazi Germany, and in the Holocaust (in Hebrew: Shoah) 1933-45 about six million Jews died in extermination camps (e.g. in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau) and in local extermination pogroms (i.e. Jewish neighbourhoods), such as the siege of the Warsaw ghetto. Anti-Semitism is still fostered by extreme right-wing groups, such as the National Front in the UK and France, and the neo-Nazis in, particularly, the USA and Germany.


In the Third Reich there were three sorts of internment camps. Throughout German-occupied Europe, the Nazi arrested those who resisted their domination and those they judged to be racially inferior or politically unacceptable. People arrested for resisting German rule were mostly sent to forced-labor or concentration camps. The Germans deported Jews from all over occupied Europe to extermination camps in Poland, where they were systematically killed. Transit camps such as Westerbork, Gurs, Mechelen and Drancy in Western Europe and Bolzano and Fossoli di Carpi in Italy were used as collection centres for Jews, who were then deported by rail to the extermination camps.

Final Solution

The extermination of the Jews during Nazi period. The full term “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” is a translation of the usual German euphemistic phrase “Endlösung der Judenfrage”. In both English and German, the Final Solution is widely used as an alternative to ‘Holocaust’. In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed two out of every three European Jews as part of the “Final Solution”, the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe by gassing, shooting, and by other means.

First (or primary) witnessing

The Jewish survivors of the atrocity, the massacre and horror in concentration camps and extermination camps) in Germany and in Poland. Less than 600,000 out of nine million Jewish men and women from all over Europe were able to give an oral or written testimony. Nowadays there are few first witnesses (victims ) to the Shoah left, but their stories live further through secondary and third witnesses with the haunting demand of ”NOT TO FORGET”. An example of a primary witnessing: the testimony of Nesse Godin, a survivor of the Shoah. In 1944, after spending 3 years in a ghetto, the girl and her mother Sara were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp. Her mother was murdered, as was the rest of her family. This testimony can be watched on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. ([[24] ( ])


the deliberate and systematic murder of a whole group or race of people. A synonym is ‘ethnic cleansing’, which is considered as an “international crime against humanity” by the United Nations. On 9 December 1948, the United Nations approved unanimously the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. A piece of topical information: on 30 November 2009, the trial of the German camp guard Demjanjuk of the Sobibor concentration camp starts in Munich. This 89 year old man contributed to the slaughter of 27,000 Jewish men and women during WW II. international crime against humanity International law made it possible that there can NEVER be MORATORIUM on war crimes. This means that any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a) killing members of the group; b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring out its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. history of the term ‘genocide’ The term genocide didn’t exist before 1944. In that year a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin, sought to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder, including the destruction of the European Jews. He formed the word ‘genocide’ from combining geno-, from the Greek word for race or tribe, with –cide, from the Latin word for killing.


Noun (plural ghettos OR ghettoes)
enclosed areas designed to isolate and control of the Jewish population a part of a city where Jews were forced to live in the past: e.g. the Warsaw ghetto an area of a city where people of a particular race or religion live, especially a poor area.


from the Greek ‘Holokauston’ : holos, “whole” and kaustos, “burnt”) is the term generally used to describe the genocide of six million European Jews during World War II. The word has been used since the 18th century to refer to the violent deaths of a very large number of people. Holocaust was adopted as a translation of the Hebrew word Shoa. In 1934, for example, when Chaim Weissman told the Zionist Action Committee that Hitler’s rise to power was an “unvorahergesehene Katastrophe, etwa ein neuer Weltkrieg” (“an unforeseen catastrophe, perhaps even a new world war”) the Hebrew press translated “Katastrophe” as ‘Shoah’. Some scholars maintain that the definition of the Holocaust should also include the Nazi’s systematic murder of millions of people in other groups, including ethnic Poles, European Catholics, the Romani (gypsies), Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other political and religious opponents. By this definition, the total number of the greatest atrocity in the 20th century would be between 11 million and 17 million people!

Nazi / Nazism

1. a member of the National Socialist Party of Adolf Hitler which controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945 2. someone who uses their authority over others in a very strict and cruel way.
Nazism is a form of fascism. The Nazi Party presented its programme in the 25point National Socialist Programme in 1920s. Among the key elements of Nazism were anti-parliamentarism, racism, collectivism, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, totalitarianism and opposition to economic liberalism and political liberalism.

Second witnessing

The Shoah survivors’ children. Because of their closeness to the primary witnesses, the children inherited (part of) their parents’ trauma.

Shoa (also spelt Shoah or Sho’ah)

Is a biblical word meaning calamity or catastrophe or disaster or destruction. It became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the 1940s. Shoah is preferred by many Jews for a number of reasons, including the theologically offence of nature of the word holocaust as a Greek pagan custom. The word ‘Shoa’ was chosen in Israel to describe the Holocaust. The term was institutionalized by the Knesset (= the Israeli Parliament) on 12 April 1951 when it established the National Day of Remembrance. the genocide of the approximately six million European Jews by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. a programme of systematic state-sponsored extermination by Nazi Germany, under Adolf Hitler, its allies and collaborators.


Injury; any physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident or fracture, etc. an emotional wound or shock often having long-lasting effects. traumatic: psychologically painful, e.g. “few experiences are more traumatic than losing a child”.


To trivialize is to make something seem less important or serious than it really is, to show some disapproval. The consequence of trivialization is ‘cheapening and sugar-coating’ which is to be avoided as the horror of the Shoah may never be forgotten because in ‘its most extreme form’ it may even lead to ‘denial’.
An example: The atrocities that are happening in the East of Congo, in Darfur, the genocide in 1993 in Rwanda, the slaughter of Muslim men in 1990 in Szebrenica (in the former Yugoslavia) remind us that mankind should remain vigilant, react and prevent the moment it is necessary. Fortunately there are numerous writers, human rights organizations and journalists who fight the battle against indifference and ignorance.

Universalizing / dejudaization

The main victims of the Holocaust horror were the Jewish population all over Europe. With a total number of approximately 6 million people, we need to pay our utmost respect for the horrific sufferings of all the Jewish men, women and children who lost their lives in the Nazi killing centres. Mankind should remember this in order to prevent genocide in the future. That’s the “main message” each generation has to bear in mind and has the moral duty to pass on. This is the advice of many scholars, writers of adult novels and of teenage fiction about this topic.



1. [Wikipedia ( ]
2. [Merriam Webster dictionaries ( ]
3. [The Free Dictionary ( ]
4. [The Free Dictionary by Farlex ( ]
5. [The Cambridge Dictionary ( ]
6. [The Hyperdictionary ( ]
7. [Wordnet Search (Princeton) ( ]
8. [US Holocaust Memorial Museum ( ]
9. [Oxford English Dictionary ( ]